Author Archives: brushduck

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How much do you love the president of China?

Chinese President Xi Jinping would make the ideal husband. He is caring – both for his wife and the nation; he is rich, with an estimated family wealth of £188 million (impressive on his ministerial salary of about £8,000 per annum); he has a good sense of humour – one of his recent speeches in his US visit reportedly included a “joke” referencing the Netflix series House of Cards; and he is cute (see video below).

While the British media spends its time snouting around its leaders’ penchant for pork scratchings, here is a disturbingly excellent video reminding us that not all leaders are bad folk:

Further hagiographic videos include the viral hit single charting the love Xi Jinping has for his wife. ‘Xi dada loves Peng mama’

At brushduck we would love to hear from you:

  • How can you be more like Xi Jinping?
  • Why doesn’t your daddy love you like Xi loves you?
  • Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like Xi?

Note: Xi is pronounced “shee”

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Chinese* Guide to the UK Election

Confused about who to vote for?

Some slightly bizarre election analysis from *Taiwanese animators

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How to deal with internet addiction – Chinese style

A man smokes while using a computer at an Internet cafe in Taiyuan

“The biggest difference between us and their parents is that their parents want to lock them up. Whereas we don’t” says Dr Tao, the lead psychiatrist in charge of a rehabilitation centre for teenage internet addicts.

“Chairman” Tao then proceeds to lock up Hope, one of the teenage ‘addicts’ for 10 days in solitary confinement.

This excellent documentary by Storyville focuses on the medicalisation and radical ‘treatment’ of the growing problem of internet addiction in China. The teenagers in the bootcamp have been defined as “addicts” as they use the internet for more than 4 hours a day – not for study or work purposes. At one point they describe how they ended up in rehab: one was drugged by his parents and carried in his sleep, another was promised a skiing holiday, only to be dumped in a rehab detention centre on the outskirts of Beijing.

The treatment can last for months or even years and involves instilling discipline and order, whilst obviously avoiding any use of computers. The boys are made to do marching drills, press ups and keep their rooms tidy, whilst the centre offers lectures, individual therapy and family therapy. They also offer brainwashing the teenagers into changing their behaviour. The brainwashing (originally a Chinese term) involves repetition: singing repeated choruses of patriotic army ditties expounding the glory of the nation, the virtues of obedience and the importance of rules in life.

The documentary raises some interesting questions about mental illness and the internet – Do parents fail to fully understand the social elements of living online?  Is there a point at which it becomes unhealthy to remain on the internet? Some of these children are from violent and abusive homes, One of the boys talks about how he tried to jump out of a window after failing a level on a computer game. Another father talks openly about how he threatened his son with a knife to make a point. It is clear in many of these cases that the internet addiction is not the route of the problem, so it does seem a bit extreme to set up a bootcamp that focuses on the one form of release these teenagers have.

The program ends with an alternative solution to the problem: One father hired online virtual ninjas to assassinate his son’s avatar character in an online shoot ’em up in a desperate attempt to get his son to stop playing online games. Unfortunately his son cottoned on to his ruse and beat out the truth from his virtual assailant.

It is a fantastic documentary. Go watch it. now…

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Bigger than Facebook

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba are about to break records by floating for a whopping $16-20 billion. 

This is bigger than Facebook and sliced bread put together.

Alibaba connects Chinese businesses with overseas companies and also owns Taobao – China’s answer to ebay.

The founder of Alibaba is the enigmatic Jack Ma. Ma started out his career as an English teacher earning $12 a month and is now one of the ten richest people in China. He has his own unique style of leadership and he likes to entertain his employees by dressing in gliitery mohawk outfits, black lipstick whilst singing bad karaoke. 

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According to one of his colleagues there is a personality cult centred on Ma that is encouraged by senior management at the company. There is even a hagiographic film documenting his rise Crocodile in the Yangtze. Despite the slightly dull narrator this films offers a fascinating insight into Ma’s meteoric rise and includes footage of the first company meetings and its early aspirations.    

Although he is hailed as China’s answer to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg Ma insists that he knows ‘nothing about technology’ and often offers words of wisdom such as:

‘The internet is like a glass of beer: it tastes best when there are bubbles in it’.

Ma is now such a big cheese that even David Cameron is desperate to get a selfie with him (or vice versa)dc and jackma

Alibaba group has just bought China Vision Media Group – who own the broadcasting rights to the English Premier League in China and run the Beijing Times. This deal has, for the time being, scuppered the mega floatation as their accountancy records are under scrutiny. In order to make sure no one messes with them further they have installed martial arts legend Jet Li as a non executive director.

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The “bigger than facebook” float hasn’t happened yet. But watch this space…

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Nothing Happened in Tiananmen Square Today

Nothing happened in Tiananmen Square at around midday on Monday 28th October 2013.

State sponsored new agencies and numerous other sources were quick to confirm that nothing happened on Monday.

‘Tiananmen Square, is famous for being a square in the middle of Beijing’

The Guardian and other news agencies around the world reported on an incident involving a jeep in which 38 people were injured.

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When asked for a response, one senior official quoted an old proverb:  “There is sometimes smoke without fire”

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Drunken Monkey Style

We can learn a lot from the drunken monkey.

monkey wine

After doing some research into how to treat high blood pressure I came across a paper studying the effects of Calcium channel blockers on alcohol-drinking monkeys. Initially I imagined a gruesome laboratory in which poor monkeys were pilled up and force-fed Lambrini’s, WKD’s or Jäger bombs.  However I soon discovered that the experiments were slightly more nuanced and based on the monkey’s preference for alcohol after taking the anti-hypertensives rather than any university style frat house forced drinking games. It turns out that the pills turn off some of this booze-monkeys from drink (probably a good thing as the side effects of these drugs are amplified with alcohol)

The concept of a drunk monkey is not a new one and these monkeys have been studied extensively and their habits compare with human drinking patterns.

see this hilarious BBC video:

In Chinese martial arts, there is a unique style which incorporates the relaxed and swaying movements of a drunken monkey. It involves rolling around a lot, eye poking and throat attacks and low kicks. The inspiration for Drunken Monkey style is Sun Wu Kong (孙悟空)  the Monkey King, the main character in the Chinese epic Journey to the West (西遊記). Non Sinophiles may recognise him from the excellent 2008 BBC Beijing Olympics animation

Monkey King BBC olympics

So lesson learned: Don’t give monkeys alcohol and don’t treat their blood pressure, or they will kick your ass.

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Beijing State of Mind

LaoWai’s repping it in Beijing

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by | August 6, 2013 · 10:48 pm